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CMU’s broadcast and cinematic arts students produce short film for class capstone project

BCA 521 provides invaluable hands-on learning, exposure to film-making production process

​​Students in Central Michigan University's School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts have independently produced "Knock," a postapocalyptic story about the last man on Earth, as the capstone project for their advanced electronic cinematography class. A premiere screening of the film will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Park Library Auditorium.

Each year, BCA faculty member Eric Limarenko teaches students in BCA 521 about the process of producing a short film. Students spend the first half of the semester learning about pre-production processes and equipment training and the second half learning about post-production video editing and final sound.

"BCA 521 is a nontraditional classroom experience," Limarenko said. "The students have to mimic a small production company to the best of their ability, with no budget and using available resources."


​Each student is given a job that is representative of a position within the film production industry. The students then work together to create a seven- to 10-minute short that meets industry standards.

"There are producers overseeing the film project, a director responsible for what goes onscreen, cinematographers and everyone in between all the way down to grips," Limarenko said. "Everything, including the score of the film, is original content created by students in the class."

"Knock" is Limarenko's fourth production with BCA 521 students and the first short filmed in black and white.

"Each year the students' ideas create unique challenges and surprises, and this year was no different," Limarenko said. "The process of filming this short without the use of color offered us the unique opportunity to explore shadows and contrast together as a class."

Limarenko said that he tells his students to remember that what goes on behind the camera is just as important as the final product. With a mix of undergraduates, graduates and international students in the class, everyone brings something different to the creative process.

"Through this class, I've had the chance to work with people from different cultures and different levels of filmmaking, experience and skillsets," Charles Campbell, graduate student from Ann Arbor and assistant director of "Knock," said. "I think we've all learned that teamwork is key."

Armada senior Vicente Steinbrink, film editor, said that he's proud of the final product and the group's collective efforts.

"We spent a whole semester working on this short," Steinbrink said. "There were 16 students in the class with 16 different ideas, but we each followed through on our individual roles and produced a short to be proud of."

Muskegon senior Caitlin Willson, who worked as director of photography on "Knock," said that she chose to come to Central because she was interested in film production.

"I came here knowing that I wanted to eventually get my hands on a camera and create something that I could call mine," Willson said. "BCA 521 has been able to provide me with that opportunity and give me the chance to stretch and learn with no creative restrictions. I value that." 

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